Shooting regimen continues to serve Bucks’ Redick well
Part 2: Shooting regimen continues to serve Bucks’ Redick well
The kid who went to extremes to hone his basketball shooting prowess before he ever turned 10 years old has not rested on his "lawnmower" laurels.
J.J. Redick became one of the most prolific shooters and scorers in college basketball history during his four seasons at Duke University, yet when Redick was being evaluated as a 2006 National Basketball Association Draft prospect, one of the many profiles that were done on him gave him a "6" on a scale of 10 as a passer and defender.
The same profile, however, rated his jump shot a "10" and scored his intangibles and NBA readiness at "9."
On June 28, 2006, the Orlando Magic selected Redick with the 11th overall pick in the draft. The 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound guard, who had been a starter and first option throughout his hoops career, had to bide his time as a reserve for the first three seasons of his professional career, averaging 14.8, 8.1 and 17.4 minutes per appearance and no more than 6 points per outing.
Redick never let his work ethic slack, however, and eventually the consistency of his diligence was rewarded with more consistent minutes and greater productivity.
"For as long as I remember, dating back to high school, I've done a lot of the same things every day and then built on them," Redick said. "I've changed some things a little year by year.
"The big thing for me is the consistency. In life in general, I'm a believer that you can't control the results, but you can control your own faithfulness. If I'm faithful to my routine, the ball will be good to me."
Even when Redick's pro playing time was scarce, he shot close to 38 percent from 3-point range and better than 86 percent from the free-throw line.
"I've learned that you just stick with what you do, prepare the same way and take your shots when they're there," Redick said. "I believe in the law of averages. I've been a 40-percent 3-point shooter for my career, and I always expect that to even back out at some point."
As Redick's pro career unfolded, his minutes gradually escalated. His marksmanship and his output did, too.
Despite starting just nine of 82 games in his fourth pro season, he barely missed averaging double digits, scoring 9.6 points per game. The following year, he crossed that threshold, averaging 10.1 ppg despite making just five starts.
Redick made 11 starts during his sixth pro campaign and responded with 11.6 ppg, and his shooting numbers were the best of his NBA career -- .418 from 3-point distance and .911 from the line.
Playing for a young, rebuilding Orlando team, Redick was averaging a career-high 15.1 ppg, shooting .391 from long range and a career-high 45 percent overall 50 games into his seventh pro season. On Feb. 21, 2013, he was traded along with Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.
Redick admittedly felt strange when he made his first appearance at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Feb. 23 outfitted in Bucks gear.
"When I came out for warm-ups, it was a little weird," he said. "After seven years of coming here and going to the other side, I was tempted to walk in the visitors' locker room this morning when I got to the arena.
"But I love playing basketball, and I was excited to play. I'm excited to be here and be in a playoff run."
The crowd roared when Redick arose from the bench and reported to the scorer's table to see his first action.
"I couldn't believe that," Redick said. "I was obviously humbled by it when I came into the game."
Redick scored 16 points in his Bucks debut and reached double figures in his first five appearances for Milwaukee, but he made it clear upon his arrival that his objectives are team-oriented.
"My focus right now is helping this team secure a playoff spot and hopefully a higher playoff spot than the eighth seed," Redick said." I'm very happy to be back in the mix and be back on a playoff team. I feel like I'm a guy who's been through the fire. I've guarded Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals. I've started a Game 7 in Boston when they were the defending champs.
"I have that playoff experience, and I think I can help this team in that regard."
Bill Peterson, who is in his sixth season as a Bucks assistant coach, has been impressed – but not surprised – at the disciplined regimen that has enabled Redick to carve a successful niche as an NBA player.
"He's just a real professional," Peterson said. "He treats playing basketball like it's his career. He shows up and works every day. He has a routine and he stays with that routine."
Peterson has seen similar diligence before.
"I've been around some really great shooters in my career in the NBA," he said. "They all have a routine and they all stick with it every day. When I was in Dallas with Steve Nash, he did the same thing every day. Now he burned the drills up, too, but he stayed after practice, he made so many shots from so many spots, he worked on his runners, he shot free throws. Dirk Nowitzki did the same thing. Those are two of the greatest shooters I've ever worked with.
"J.J.'s the same way. He stays after every day. After every shootaround, he gets his shots up from all the spots. That's why he shoots the ball so well. When you do that enough times, you tend to acquire a swagger or a certain inner confidence because you know you have put the time in every single day."
Peterson has seen the flip side of this equation, too.
"On the other hand, if you don't do that, there comes a time in the game when the pressure's on to get it done, you know, deep, deep down inside you, that you haven't put the time in," he said. "Therefore, maybe you don't deserve to make that shot.
"J.J. is one of those rare guys who can go 1 for 8 or 2 for 10 and come into a game in the fourth quarter and bang two 3s right away at crunch time. He's proven it many times, including here already. I think that comes from that inner confidence that, ‘I've worked every single day, whether I wanted to work or not, or whether I felt good or not.'
"It's like building a house. If you have that really solid foundation, you can be really successful. If that foundation's on sand or mud, you're going to sink. But his isn't on that. He works every single day."
Redick, list most great shooters, has a short memory.
"He has a great ability to focus on his next shot," Peterson said. "He didn't just start doing that when he got to Milwaukee. He did it with Orlando and I'm sure he did it at Duke and in high school in Virginia. He works every day the same way. That pays off.
"And he has a very, very technically sound shot. He's obviously an excellent free-throw shooter under pressure, too. He's a mentally tough guy. If he does miss one, he's not going to worry about it, because he knows he's going to make the next one. With a lot of guys, they'll miss three or four and they know they're done."
Redick admits as much.
"I'm not afraid to miss shots in clutch situations," he said. "If you're not afraid to miss shots, then there's no hesitation to take a shot. You always want the ball in those situations."
So if the Bucks ever incorporate "the picket fence" into their playbook, coach Jim Boylan knows that he can look into the eyes of J.J. Redick with the game on the line and hear those words every coach in such situations wants to hear:
"I'll make it."